Q&A with Matt Hay and Jack Woodcraft, Co-Founders and Managing Directors of Latimer Group
Latimer is a full-service communications agency that helps the world’s leading organisations to grow through audience collaboration. The agency has collaborated (“co-created”) with over 20,000 young people across 27 countries, bringing rich diversity and talent into campaigns reaching in excess of 15 million people. In so doing it has created over 200 job opportunities for the diverse youth talent network it supports and mobilised thousands of young people to take action and campaign on some of society’s most intractable social problems.
Latimer was founded by Matt Hay, Jack Woodcraft and Nick Marcq in 2011 and was recently named in the top 50 most disruptive UK businesses by Real Business.
What is Latimer’s Social Mission?
Latimer exists to transform young people from passive recipients of services, into active agents of change in their communities. We use collaborative co-creation methods that are premised on empowering citizens to take ownership of the things that affect their lives, to engage communities in development of campaigns, products and services. We see the power of this every day. Whether that’s young people with experience of mental health co-creating public services with their Local Authority or in working with Victims of FGM to build global awareness of Honour Based Violence. Putting real people at the core of campaigns brings an authenticity that traditional agencies often struggle with. On top of this we track three core social metrics that relate to i) the number of people we co-create with* ii) the number of employment opportunities we create for our network and iii) the number of people who have seen the educational campaigns we produce.
We want to join those demonstrating that businesses with social impact at their core don’t need to be niche or fringe but can compete on a global level and reach scale.
How did you first make contact with Impact Ventures UK?
Through ClearlySo – a real trailblazer in the social impact space. They essentially support business with social impact at their core to scale by connecting them with Angel and VC capital. Latimer Group won the Big Venture Challenge Award in 2013-2014, just as the eco-system for social enterprise was really opening up. A few months later, we got in touch with ClearlySo with our ambitions to scale-up, and they connected us with IVUK as well as a handful of other funds. We chose to work with IVUK because we felt that they were the most robust in their diligence and understood the necessity of fusing social impact with commercial growth.
What have you learned or how have you benefitted from working with the fund thus far?
IVUK is extremely rigorous in its due diligence – they’ve set a benchmark for where we need to be, and have been consistently energetic and keen to get “hands on”. Its important to work with people who are passionate and we get a deep sense of that from the IVUK team.
It’s early days but so far they’ve also connected us with a few key partners which is of huge benefit. I’m really keen that we have an opportunity to meet with as many people from across IVUK and its global portfolio over the coming months and ultimately help build a stronger more established social enterprise eco-system.
How would you describe IVUK to those interested in applying for funding?
Marrying up a desire to create social impact with an appreciation for what it takes to scale an enterprise is really what distinguishes IVUK. It’s actually quite unusual to find a fund that successfully fuses these two things and we’re pleased to have found a partner that gets it.
What advice do you have for social enterprises seeking funding from IVUK?
Be prepared. Make sure you’ve got a clear road map for your social and commercial impact growth ambitions. It’s also really important to understand the time commitments, level of involvement and meetings needed for a round of funding. It will always take longer than you think!
*For its formal social KPIs Impact Ventures UK tracks only those co-creators with whom Latimer engages with meaningfully and 1) who exhibit a form of vulnerability and 2) are being engaged on a social issue; this is alongside KPIs for training and employment opportunities and reach of educational materials.
Marrying up a desire to create social impact with an appreciation for what it takes to scale an enterprise is really what distinguishes IVUK.